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Authors: Hillary Kanter

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Hillary Kanter - Dead Men Are Easy To Love

BOOK: Hillary Kanter - Dead Men Are Easy To Love
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Hillary Kanter - Dead Men Are Easy To Love
Hillary Kanter
Slightly Off Kanter Press (2012)
Romance: Fantasy - Historical - Time Travel - Humor
Romance: Fantasy - Historical - Time Travel - Humorttt
Question: What do Clark Gable, Ernest Hemingway, and Vincent Van Gogh all have in common, besides being famous and dead?
Answer: They all loved Ariel Richards, a modern day, time-traveling woman who visited with each of them in the past and inspired some of the greatest works of their times.
For Ariel Richards, is there any future in the past? One thing is for certain: She thinks dead men are much easier to love than living ones! Ariel has bad luck with love. But her present dating woes are only the beginning. Soon she finds herself making mysterious visits to the past, brushing shoulders—and much more—with some of the most famous men, and bad boys, from history: Ernest Hemingway, Clark Gable, Beethoven, Dracula, Van Gogh, Butch Cassidy, and others. Will she find lasting romance with any one of them, or will it die before she can find hope for her future?




Copyright ©2012

by Hillary Kanter


Published by Slightly Off Kanter Press

Nashville, TN


All rights reserved.

This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part,

by any means, without permission.

For more information, visit







Many thanks go to these people, without whom this book would have been permanently filed … in the wastebasket.


Even Stevens, Jan Buckingham, Thom Rutledge, Bill “V” Matseas, Nancy Reed Kanter, and Lavada June Roberts.


Extra special thanks must go to Eric Wilson, for his patience and talent to help turn what was a bunch of stories, into an actual book. He believed I could go the extra mile … and helped me to get there.




Chapter One:




I am, and always have been, a poor liar. If you knew me at all, you’d know that it is completely out of character for me to make up the story you are about to read—just ask my shrink.

As ludicrous as it may sound, it is all true. Whether you choose to believe me or not is entirely up to you.


My best friend, Jeanette, is an attractive blonde who complains a lot about the size of her thighs. She says that if she only had skinny thighs like
, she’d have no problem finding a good man. Being a brunette, I always thought that if I only had blond hair like
, I would have no trouble finding a man. So I dye my hair blond, and she joins Jenny Craig and gets skinny thighs, and guess what?

Did either one of us find Mr. Right?

I confess, though. I’ve never had a relationship quite so bad as Jeanette, who for some time dated a “nice guy”—in her words—but whom she would come to refer to ever after as Battering Bob.

Here I am, an attractive, single, thirty-something woman, in the hook-up capital of the free world—New York City—and my love life can be summed up in two words:

Dating sucks.

I’d have a PhD in bad dating if there were such a thing.

There was Dr. Dick, a shrink but thankfully not mine, one of the expert healers I’ve dated who had a few problems—ahem—“raising the ole flag.” He tried everything in the world known to man, and still only managed to get to half-mast.

How about Mr. Stinky, who had no sense of smell and must have thought the deodorant aisle in the drug store was simply for decoration?

What about Dr. Know-It-All? After I mentioned I had stomach problems during our first date, he insisted I should let him give me a colonoscopy as soon as we were done eating dinner. I wondered if we might have time for a little dessert first.

Recently, there was another doctor I went out with for an entire month. After getting to know each other, we had a few issues in the intimacy department. Viagra works for three out of four men. Just my shitty, friggin’ luck, he is the
one out of four.
He finally injected something into his “thing” and Hallelujah,
Houston, we have lift off.
The problem was that it would not go down! Finally, I couldn’t help blurting out, “Would you
already?” Five hours later I drove him to the hospital, because “his thing” was still saluting the stars.

Many times, big, fat men are attracted to me. They assume I’ll be blown away with them regardless. As the late humorist and songwriter Shel Silverstein so aptly summed up in one of his funniest songs, from a woman’s point of view, “the day that you can see your own ____, I’ll be glad to look at it too.”

My sentiments exactly.

But just last week I went out with a man who was a human
Seriously. Quite a change from the big, fat men. He was so skinny you’d think you were looking at an X-ray. It lasted only one date, because I couldn’t picture myself hugging a telephone pole.

Hmm. Am I too picky?

I tried a matchmaker website. Several, actually.

One man flew in from Missouri to take me to dinner. He said he was a dead ringer for Ben Affleck. He looked like Buddha. First date, over dinner, he proudly presented me with an HIV-negative report. He was a presumptuous, pompous idiot. But at least he was a
presumptuous, pompous idiot. I couldn’t send him back to the airport fast enough.

As I rode a taxi home, the Iraqi taxi driver got insulted when I asked him to take me by way of Second Avenue instead of Third. He yelled at me in broken English, saying if I were
wife, he’d beat me with a chain. Then he apologized and asked me out to dinner. A very nice end to the day.

What is the matter with men today? Did all the good ones die off in the past?

My luck really ran out when I fell in love with Mr. Sociopath.


a person with a personality disorder

manifesting itself in extreme antisocial behavior

and a lack of conscience.


He looked good, smelled good, and kissed without slobbering all over my mouth and forcing his tongue down my throat. I must say he had that going for him. I stayed with him for the most nastily imaginable
four years
because of it. I plead temporary insanity, brought on by thirty-something, raging hormones.

Mr. S was a congenital liar. Read that as, he was
born that way.
He lied
of the time about
, big and small: his past, his present, his height, how much money had had, his sex life, you name it. He was sexy, though, and charming—at least when he wanted something from me—and wrote me poetry.

Looking back, his poetry sucked. I know now that if someone offers me love poems after only a second date, it means head for the hills. I’m not saying the man did not have his good side, though I’m sure if you asked Ted Bundy’s mother, she’d tell you Ted did too.

But he did one thing right. He made my memories of lovemaking with past bedmates look about as exciting as eating boxes of stale saltines. He had limos pick me up, took me on trips—first-class all the way—and bought me jewels and La Perla lingerie. He spent money like an Arab sheik. Except he
no Arab sheik. He was a nutcase maxing out on credit cards, sliding headfirst into bankruptcy court.

Oh, and did I mention he was superstitious?

That’s right. He didn’t want to work any week with a Friday in it.

In four years we broke up more times than Elizabeth Taylor said “I do.” During our final breakup, I ran into him with a woman I came to find out he’d secretly married one month after
met—while Jake and I were
still seeing each other.

The night I found out, I cried and ate two packages of Oreos. I sobbed and obsessed. I walked endless miles for weeks on end, for no particular reason, until each night I collapsed into a heap of empty, grieving flesh.

Finally, on a cold New Year’s Day, I had a picture- and letter-burning purge in the fireplace. Rifling through my apartment, I sorted out all the expensive gifts he’d ever given me, and I mailed them to my sister in California, who appreciates nice things and might not view them as arsenic offerings.

Yes, I’ve had my share of dating turmoil, but who would ever guess that a flaky psychic would be the culprit for what was to come.




Chapter Two




My friend Sandy was throwing her annual “Spring Fling All-Women Get-Together.” This party typically wound up being nothing more than a gaggle of single women getting together for a colossal bitching session about our collectively sucky dating lives.

It was held at her mother’s lux condo overlooking Central Park West, an impressive home with its expanse of windows, twelve-foot ceilings, and Louis the XVI furniture. After a third divorce, Sandy’s mother was newly single like most of the twenty who attended. Those dropping by might include a couple of writers, a teacher, a struggling actress or two, a buyer from Bloomingdale’s, an interior decorator, maybe a few lawyers thrown in for good measure.

Sandy’s parties always had a theme, and she often invited a surprise guest. One year, she had a handwriting analysis expert, who hinted I might be a sociopath by the way I scripted my
’s. Hmm. Another year, a jewelry designer pushed to sell me a $100,000 canary diamond ring, even though she knew I was a writer still trying to get a first novel published and didn’t have two nickels to rub together. Last year, a makeup artist who specialized in mini-makeovers thought it her business to inform me that my eyes were uneven. Well, there was a nice ego boost.

This spring our guest was Serenity, a psychic who specialized in relationship readings. I couldn’t wait to hear what she had to say, since all of my relation
had sailed and sunk, assuring me of my perpetually single status.

A screen in the back corner of the living room provided privacy. I waited my turn. Having flushed hundreds of dollars down the toilet in the past on psychic quacks, I was highly skeptical, even though Sandy assured me Serenity was “truly amazing.”

Serenity had a crystal ball—
for real
—and a deck of tarot cards. She had long, wispy, blonde hair, a diamond stud in her nose, and three toe rings on her bare feet. And she was single herself.

If she was such a great relationship psychic, I wondered, why didn’t
have one?

But I digress.

When my turn came, the first thing she asked was to look at my palms. “Ahhh, you have a long heart-line, Ariel. But as you can see,” she said, pointing to a crease in my hand, “it’s very broken.”

“With as many broken hearts as I’ve had, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t.”

I could tell the direction this was headed.

She asked me to select a tarot card from the deck. I picked the upside-down hanging man—a dead man, by the way. Though I didn’t realize the significance at the time, this wasn’t a promising start.

Next, she peered into the crystal ball. She furrowed her brow—and since she didn’t do Botox, I could actually
she was furrowing. Deep in concentration, she said, “Hmmm … I see … Uh-huh.”

I scooted up, wondering what was so fascinating. I saw nothing in the ball except a funhouse reflection of my moon face—excessively magnified and scary beyond words.

Sighing, Serenity sat back in her chair and gave me an intense look. I shifted in my seat. I was sure she was about to say something that would affect me profoundly—and maybe not in such a good way. She studied me for what seemed like an hour. I waited with baited breath.

At last she spoke. “You have not had good luck finding a man.”

You have not had good luck finding …” That’s it? You gotta be kidding.

Not only did this likely apply to every woman in the
, but probably to more than
of the single women in New York City. The dingbat!

“Ariel,” she continued, “you don’t think men these days have anything to offer you, right?”

“Correcto-mondo,” I replied. “I have not met a good single man in forever. No matter how you slice it, the selection’s weak. And the ones who do capture my interest are either married or gay. Available men today are just plain dull. They had to have been more chivalrous and interesting and romantic, in the past, don’t you think? Like what about the ’20s or ’30s? Or how about even before that, like the turn of the century? The men of any other era must have been better than this one.”

BOOK: Hillary Kanter - Dead Men Are Easy To Love
4.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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